It’s 1977, and if you lived in the area of Indiana 62 in a town called Watson, Indiana, in Clark County, you may have heard of a small quaint kennel named Cunnie’s Kennel, owned by Al Cunningham. Since 1962, both Al and his wife Ruth, ran one of Watson’s landmarks until his death in 1982 at the age of 79. Featured in an interview in the Indiana Times in 1977, Al shared his passion of providing tender love and care for owner’s pets at their location. Al, a former construction worker, let his wife run the business until he was able to become more involved in the day to day operations. Even then, Al commented that urbanization was slowly creeping up on him and the hundreds of dogs who came to him then may need to start looking elsewhere. Development was making its way up the road even then.
It’s 1983. Charles Ettel, who worked at Essex, and worked for Al when he would get off his day job, would become next in line to continue to run Cunnie’s Kennel. His wife, Jean, who worked in the office, expanded the services to include pet grooming. Jean, also a member of the Clark County Humane Association, helped create an adoption site at Cunnie’s. Thus, Cunnie’s Kennel was making a name for itself in the surrounding community as the leading choice for pet boarding and grooming.
It’s now 1994. Charles and Jean, after 18 years and getting close to retirement age decided that it was time to pass the leash to their son Mike and his wife Jerri and their daughter Chelsie. Mike, a former employee of ICI America, and Jerri, who worked at Humana, designed and built a new 10,000 sq ft facility and opened its doors in October, 1994, under the new name Dogwood Inn Kennel & Pet Services. Less than a year later, Mike built a 1,700 sq. ft building onsite designed for veterinary use and Eastside Animal Hospital opened Bridgeview Animal Clinic where it continued as an extension of vet services.
Today, Dogwood Inn Kennel provides full dog and cat boarding for pet owners, all breed grooming, daycare, outdoor exercise, and vet services. Future expansion plans are in the works for more services. Dogwood Inn is in the heart of the newest, highly anticipated development in the United States and excited to see what it will create for the community. Celebrating 58 years of pet care in 2020, Al and Ruth Cunningham would be so proud of what they helped to create back in 1962. Al called it “The Canine Ritz!” and perhaps over the years of dogs and cats that have been there would agree.